South Carolina Social Security Benefits

More than 57 million people nationwide received SSA benefits in 2012.
More than 57 million people nationwide received SSA benefits in 2012. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

Hundreds of thousands of residents in South Carolina receive retirement, disability and survivors benefits from the Social Security Administration. These benefits are paid to nearly a million South Carolina beneficiaries who met the federal agency’s requirements. Depending on the circumstances, your family members and even former spouses may be eligible to receive SSA benefits from your account.

About Social Security in South Carolina

If you’re receiving SSA benefits in South Carolina, you are part of the Atlanta Region, which is one of 10 sections covering the United States and its territories. The Atlanta Region covers seven other states besides South Carolina: Tennessee, North Carolina, Kentucky, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama and Georgia. In 2012, South Carolina SSA beneficiaries received more than $13.4 billion in retirement, disability and survivors benefits, about 8.3 percent of the total personal income in the state.

Social Security Disability

The SSA pays disability benefits to you and other South Carolina residents if you have long-term disabilities that prevent you from working. Your disabilities must last at least a year; you also satisfy the SSA’s definition of disability if you’re terminally ill. You must have also paid into Social Security while you worked and accumulated enough work credits. You earn work credits for every $1,200 you make in one year and you can get a maximum of four annually. A total of 40 work credits are required and 20 must have been made during the 10 years preceding your disability. If you are applying for survivors or retirement benefits, you earn work credits the same way. Disability benefits are based on your average earnings. In 2012, 177,534 disabled workers in South Carolina received SSA disability benefits averaging $12,971.

Social Security Survivors

The SSA pays survivors benefits to your family members, including any former spouses, based on their age and disability status at the time of your death. More than $81 million in SSA survivors benefits was paid to 69,470 widows and widowers in 2012 South Carolina widowers each month in 2012. The benefit depends on your work credits and age at the time you die, but you never need more than 40 credits. If you have fewer than 40 credits, but have earned at least 6 credits during the three years before your death, your family will receive benefits based on your earnings.

Social Security Retirement

You are eligible to receive retirement benefits from the SSA if you have accumulated the required work credits during your career, paid the required amounts into Social Security while you worked and reach full retirement age. You need 40 work credits if you were born after 1929, and your full retirement age is based on your year of birth. You can start receiving benefits as early as age 62, but they will be reduced. Your payments are based on your average earnings over a 35-year period. If you have years when you didn’t work, it will bring down your average and reduce your benefit amounts. Your spouse, dependent children and ex-spouse can also receive benefit payments based on their age and your earnings records. In 2012, 629,017 retired South Carolinians received average monthly SSA benefits of $1,240 per month.

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